Seriously, what is the hold up?
Two false starts later, construction work on the severely deteriorated Metropolitan Avenue Bridge deck at the Ridgewood/Middle Village border has yet to begin, and community leaders believe it may be due to the contractor who won the bid for the job.
Gary Giordano, district manager of Community Board 5 (CB 5), announced that the contractor that won the bid was New Jersey-based Mugrose Construction Inc. during the CB 5 monthly meeting on Nov. 9 at Christ the King High School in Middle Village.
The project was originally set to get underway after the July 4 holiday, but was then rescheduled for August due to a delay in the review and approval of drawings with the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), which owns the tracks, and approval of vendors and subcontractors. The work was further delayed until October due to the contractor not being able to secure the appropriate permits for the work. Still, a shovel has yet to hit the dirt.
According to Manta.com, an online small business database, Mugrose is categorized under the home builders section and website’s current estimates show the company has an estimated annual revenue of $580,000 and has a staff of approximately 5 employees.
The contract for the bridge work was supposed to be bid out to the lowest qualified bidder, and with the delays so far, many believe that Mugrose may not have been prepared for the job.
“It is upsetting that the contractor has not started the bridge project. To my knowledge, the protective shield has not even been installed under the bridge deck,” Giordano said. “The bridge is in poor condition and that’s why the deck needs to be replaced.”
Evidence of such disrepair can be found at the corner of Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue, where large steel plates and a concrete barrier cover holes in the bridge.
The situation is even more dire because the DOT had planned to finish the bridge project before July of 2017, when the MTA is scheduled to close the nearby M train line for two months for major track repairs. The delays put that goal in serious jeopardy.
“I’m even more concerned that with the contractor being so late in starting the project, which was supposed to begin in July, that enough work won’t be done prior to work on the M train line beginning July 1, 2017,” Giordano added.
When the M line goes down for construction in the summer of 2017 the MTA plans to run shuttle buses along Metropolitan Avenue and Fresh Pond Road to accommodate riders, but if the bridge work is still underway it will be a challenging task to move those commuters in a timely fashion.
During the construction of the new bridge deck, traffic will be reduced to only one lane in each direction on both Metropolitan Avenue and Fresh Pond Road, while a temporary sidewalk will be created at the old Mobil gas station to allow pedestrians to pass, so having shuttle buses traverse the intersection will only add to the headache.
QNS has reached out to Mugrose Construction for comment and is awaiting a response.